The Union Cabinet has approved the proposals of Ministry of Finance on certain landmark budgetary reforms relating to
(i) the merger of Railway budget with the General budget,
(ii) the advancement of the date of Budget presentation from the last day of February
(iii) the merger of the Plan and the Non-Plan classification in the Budget and Accounts. All these changes will be put into effect simultaneously from the Budget 2017-18.
1. The merger of Railway budget with the General budget:
The presentation of separate Railway budget started in the year 1924, and has continued after independence as a convention rather than under Constitutional provisions.
The merger would help in the following ways:
2. Advancement of the Budget presentation:
Advancement of the date of Budget presentation from the last day of February to a suitable date.
The exact date of presentation of Budget for 2017-18 would be decided keeping in view the date of assembly elections to be held in States.
This would help in following ways:
3. Merger of Plan and Non Plan classification in Budget and Accounts:
The third proposal approved by the Cabinet relates to the merger of Plan and Non Plan classification in Budget and Accounts from 2017-18, with continuance of earmarking of funds for Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan/Tribal Sub-Plan. Similarly, the allocations for North Eastern States will also continue.
This would help in resolving the following issues:
The Order envisages:
1. Creation of the National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management), as an Authority under the Chairperson of Hon’ble Prime Minister, in place of the existing NGRBA for overall responsibility for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of river Ganga Basin.
2. Setting up of an Empowered Task Force chaired by Hon’ble Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to ensure that the Ministries, Departments and State Governments concerned have:.
3. Declaration of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as an Authority with powers to issue directions and also to exercise the powers under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to enable it to carry out efficiently its mandate.
The NMCG will have a two-tier management structure with a Governing Council (GC) and Executive Committee (EC) constituted out of the GC.
4. At the State level, it is proposed to create the State Ganga Committees in each of the defined States as Authority, Similarly, the District Ganga Committees will do
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Mainland (Chennai) and Port Blair & amoxicillin al 1000 five other islands viz. Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar.
Provision of secure, reliable, robust, and affordable telecom facilities in these islands is of importance from a strategic point of view to the country and also an important requirement for the socio-economic development of the islands.
Currently the only medium of providing telecom connectivity between Mainland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is though satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 Gbps.
Satellite bandwidth is very costly and its availability is limited due to which future bandwidth requirement cannot be met solely through it.
Then, there is an issue of redundancy, that is, no alternate media is available in case of any emergency.
Lack of bandwidth and telecom connectivity is also hampering socio-economic development of the islands. Hence it is essential to have submarine OFC connectivity between the Mainland India and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, being the only option for catering to projected future bandwidth requirements.
This legislative proposal will fulfil a long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity. The salient features are as follows:-
· It applies to every vessel irrespective of place of residence or domicile of owner.
· Inland vessels and vessels under construction are excluded from its application but the Central Government is empowered to make it applicable to these vessels also by a notification if necessary.
· It does not apply to warships and naval auxiliary and vessels used for non-commercial purposes.
· The jurisdiction is for adjudicating on a set of maritime claims listed in the Bill.
· In order to ensure security against a maritime claim a vessel can be arrested in certain circumstances.
· The liability in respect of selected maritime claims on a vessel passes on to its new owners by way ofmaritime liens subject to a stipulated time limit.
· In respect of aspects on which provisions are not laid down in the Bill, the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 is applicable.
India is a leading maritime nation and maritime transportation caters to about ninety-five percent of its merchandise trade volume. However, under the present statutory framework, the admiralty jurisdiction of Indian courts flow from laws enacted in the British era. Admiralty jurisdiction relates to powers of the High Courts in respect of claims associated with transport by sea and navigable waterways. The repealing of five admiralty statutes is in line with the Government's commitment to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.